Saturday, May 30, 2009


Dave -

I believe the fencing project is coming to an end. I refrain from claiming completion since these type of projects tend to have one more little task that needs to be done - just ask any farmer. Shirley and I installed the last two sections of fence; both came with problems - oh, why can't projects just go as planned?

My first challenge was to find something to anchor the come-a-long that I use to stretch tight the wire fencing. Since my neighbor was not home, I solved my problem by tying a borrowed rope to his tree about 60 feet away. After securing the wire fence to the corner posts, I proceeded to set the metal posts. Here is where I ran into a stone wall. More accurately, it was not a stone wall, but rather a stone hill. I was able to drive one of the posts only a foot deep. Shirley's fixation on uniformity dictated that the post needed to be driven down another three inches to match the others. I flailed away for what seemed like an hour (okay, maybe five minutes...but remember that this is in the middle of the day under a scorching sun) trying to drive that post three...two...even one inch deeper. No way! Seeing the sweat pouring down my face, Shirley resigned herself to the fact that this post was going to be a couple of inches higher than the other two. With that, we called it a day.

Yesterday we stretched the last section of fence into place and secured it to the wooden corner posts. Uneventful - and this is a good thing. This morning we schlepped the metal posts, the pile driver, and the level up the hill and prepared to drive home the last three posts. Our hill is so steep (truly, about a 45 degree slope) that each step was a challenge. Fortunately, the underlying rock that more or less defines our hill was covered with enough dirt that we were able to drive the posts without encountering the problems of the day before. Job done. Time to head to the house for a cold beer. At the bottom of the hill - at the corner of the fence - the 4x4 corner post looked like it was leaning, not standing straight like it was the day before. Upon a closer look, the problem was obvious. The post had a knot and the tension from the fence was causing the post to crack. I realized that replacing the post would be a huge job requiring me to remove the post along with the 75 pounds of concrete anchoring it as well as splicing in two sections of fence so that the fence could be re-tensioned. Bottom line, this meant that my fencing work was NOT done.

I found a two foot length of heavy gauge uni-strut and screwed it to the post using five hefty 2-1/2" lag screws. This band-aid approach straightened the cracked post and I deem that the post is now stronger than before it cracked - at least I have convinced myself of this since I have a clear understanding of what the alternative holds.

So, is the fencing project really done? Well, I guess the answer depends on who you ask. Ask me, and I will give you a definite "Yes!". Ask Shirley, and she may also say "Yes" but in the same breath also mention that she would like the original 5' high fence removed. Ack! Did she say "remove" a fence?

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